This page belongs to: Trailing liability for decommissioning of offshore petroleum property: guidelines


2.1. This guideline aims to clarify: 

  • who can be subject to a remedial direction
  • when and how the trailing liability provisions may be applied. 

2.2. The strengthened trailing liability provisions in the OPGGS Act are broad. This guideline does not replace, nor limit, the OPGGS Act and associated regulations. The guideline does not constrain the powers of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) or the responsible Commonwealth Minister.

2.3. The government recognises that policies such as trailing liability may have an impact on how commercial arrangements, including mergers and acquisitions, are structured. This guideline aims to clarify the scope of the trailing liability provisions and provide general information on how these provisions may be applied. 

Application of guideline

2.4. This guideline focuses on the revised trailing liability provisions that apply to 

  • offshore petroleum titleholders (including former titleholders)
  • related bodies corporate
  • related persons.[2]

that have, or had, an interest in, or in relation to an offshore petroleum title from 1 January 2021. 

2.5. Different provisions apply for entities that ceased to hold a title, wholly or in part, prior to 1 January 2021. These arrangements are set out in Section 4: Pre-existing trailing liability provisions: ownership ceased before 1 January 2021

2.6. This guideline applies to all petroleum structures, equipment, wells and other property brought into the area under the authority of a title granted under the OPGGS Act, during any stage of operations. These items are collectively referred to hereafter as ‘property’.

2.7. This guideline relates to property that was first installed for the purpose of exploring for, or exploiting, offshore petroleum. It is part of a suite of government documents outlining the requirements for decommissioning of offshore petroleum property. 

2.8. The trailing liability provisions for greenhouse gas storage activities have also been expanded. A separate guideline will be developed relating to property installed for greenhouse gas storage purposes. 

2.9. This guideline is part of a suite of measures to enhance the framework for decommissioning of offshore oil and gas activities. The department will commence a review of the guideline 12 months after commencement to ensure that the guideline is fit for purpose and appropriately reflects other new policy measures which are being implemented. 


  1.  Related persons are persons who have been identified as a related person via a related persons determination.